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What causes black discoloration on the finger tips?

Answered by
Dr. Muhammad Hanif

General & Family Physician

Practicing since :2009

Answered : 2369 Questions

Posted on Mon, 2 Nov 2015 in Skin Hair and Nails
Question: My left ring finger turned black this morning, not at the tip but the rest of the finger extending to the hand in like a V. only on front side, it is not as dark as at first and rubbing it seems to make it red.
Answered by Dr. Muhammad Hanif 1 hour later
Brief Answer:
It is due to the problems with the Blood Vessels of the fingers

Detailed Answer:
Dr. Hanif warmly Welcomes you to my virtual clinic HCM!
I have carefully worked through your case, and can realize your health worries. Being your physician, I will take care all of your medical concerns.


1. Less Serious Disease Probability:-
The details given in this particular case history especially that on rubbing you get some redness back gives the suspicion of RAYNAUD'S PHENOMENON in which there is lack of oxygen to the areas of supply anywhere (mostly hands and fingers, toes, ears tips, nose etc) due to any reason discussed as under.

Cause of Raynaud's phenomenon:- Main reason is vascular spasm that may be due to many causes listed as under:-
*strong emotions
*the cold weather conditions
*certain drugs as beta blockers given for blood pressure or for heart disease
*arthritis and some autoimmune conditions.
*repeated injury on usage as typing, using some instrument.
*smoking is also an important cause.

Management for Raynaud's:-
First of all wear Gloves; socks indoor; shoes outdoor; avoid cold exposure.
Avoid smoking and alcohol, caffeinated drinks like tea, coffee, energy drinks, and chocolates.
Take plenty of water.
Ask your treating physician if there is a need for change of medicines you take.

2. More Serious Disease Probability:-
This may be the start of the Gangrene (Dry Gangrene) which is a disease of the peripheral organs and the areas which has only a single supply line for blood.

Risk factors for Gangrene:-
Diabetes mellitus.
Hypertension or hypotension.

What both the probabilities have in common:-
When there is the loss or lack of blood supply to an organ or peripheral digits, the skin changes its color and turns bluish/black.

Try warming your hand with mild heat and rubbing the hands. If there is a return of the normal red color it means it is Raynaud's phenomenon and not the gangrene. You may wait then and make an appointment as soon as possible with your primary care physician for evaluation.
But if there is no change after giving heat and hand rubbing, then I preferably suggest you to go to the ER right away and get it examined by the Vascular Surgeon, because it then may be start of the Gangrene.


Have a wonderful time ahead. Hope I answered all of your questions. Let me know if you have any further clinical concerns or doubts. I will be more than happy to get back to you in no time. If satisfied here, please give a generous five star rating and don't forget to close the discussion.
For any disease you have, a timely follow-up after sometime regarding the treatment efficacy and to see any need to change the treatment options is very necessary. Keep a follow up some days after this visit session ends.


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Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Vaishalee Punj

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